tv The Ed Show MSNBC October 5, 2012 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
kerrey's campaign told the hill this will be a barn burner in the end. i'm ezra klein. see me work at "the washington post." lawrence good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" live from minneapolis. 32 days until the 2012 election. the unemployment rate hits its lowest level in four years and republicans hate it. tonight we rip off their tin foil hats. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. >> you don't think it's coincidental that we've got the biggest surge since 1983 and in the job surge? come on, chris. >> the conspiracy theorists are howling tonight. we'll get the truth on today's huge jobs report. with former president of ubs investment bank robert wolffe
and democratic strategist bob shrumpf. a republican talking point died a bloody death today. >> the obama administration promised that unemployment would not exceed 8%. >> would not exceed 8%. >> unemployment under 8%. >> below 8%. >> tonight a requiem for the 8% promise. the mitt romney coal miner story got even uglier today. we'll talk to the author of a new report that claims the owner of the ohio mine mitt romney visited forced workers to donate to the romney campaign. and the legendary actor lavar burton is mad at mitt romney for going after big bird. >> i'm going to stop other things. i like pbs. i love big bird. >> tonight lamar burton with the real story about pbs. >> the real story? >> the real story. good to have you with us tonight folks. thanks for watching.
the unemployment numbers for september were released today. it is good news for the american recovery. somebody said obama didn't know anything about the economy. well, forget that for now. the national unemployment rate fell to, count it, 7.8%. 114,000 jobs were added to the payrolls. an additional 86,000 were added to revisions for july and august. the labor force grew, my friends, by 418,000, which means the drop in unemployment is not due to people giving up on looking for work, which is a great republican talking point. president obama broke the news to supporters during a rally in virginia today. >> this morning we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since i took office. more americans entered the work force, more people are getting jobs.
>> the president made clear the economy is not out of the woods. it's never going to be out of the woods. look where we're going. there are still a lot of people who are waiting for the recovery to reach them. >> we've still got too many friends and neighbors who are looking for work. there are too many middle class families that are still struggling to pay the bills. they were struggling long before the crisis hit. but today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points. it's a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now. >> this has been a long road for america. sometimes i think as americans we're almost in denial as to where we were. here's the bottom line. the september rate is lower than the unemployment rate when barack obama took office in 2009 of january of that year right out of the bat. today where's the dow? the dow-jones industrial average hit a five-year high.
stocks are doing better than they were before the economic crash of 2008. more people are working today than when president obama was inaugurated. you know, when they were having the secret meeting about how they were going to make him fail. it's not all sunshine and roses out there. we'll admit that. the jobs situation in america has improved under president obama's watch. now of course unless you are a hard core right winger. according to them, these unemployment numbers, you know what they are? they are a conspiracy. they're a conspiracy to re-elect the president of the united states. >> there is widespread mistrust of this report and these numbers because there are clear contradictions. >> i guarantee when this is revised the unemployment rate would be back above 8%. >> oh, how convenient that the rate drops below 8% for the first time in 43 months five weeks before an election. >> i told you they'd get it under 8%.
they did. >> a great argument. >> you can let america decide how they got it. >> you are alleging specifically that the president is engaging in a cover up of the data. you are saying that the administration is actively manipulating that data, correct? >> well, absolutely. >> i want to remind you i have warned you this kind of thing is going to happen. the unemployment rate is going to drop. >> the insanity doesn't stop there. one conservative writer for the "washington examiner" said unemployment dropped because a bunch of dems lied about getting jobs. now here is the grand daddy of all job truthers. former general electric ceo jack welch had fun this morning. he tweeted this. he couldn't believe it. unbelievable job numbers. these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate so they change the numbers. welch went on fox news and claimed he wasn't making accusations about the administration. he's just raising the question.
>> it's just ironic that these assumptions all came this way the month before the election. you draw your own conclusions. >> welch received a different reception when he tried to peddle his theory to my colleague chris matthews on this network. >> i have no evidence to prove that. i just raised the question. >> no you didn't. you said these chicago guys will do anything. >> yeah. >> so they changed the numbers. do you want to take this back? >> no i don't want to take it back. >> there is a serious assertion there was corruption here, infiltration or getting to -- it's not funny, jack. you're talking about the president of the united states playing with the bureau of statistics numbers. this is nixon stuff. do you want to take back the charge that there was corruption here? >> i don't want to take back one word in that tweet. >> so let's be clear about where we stand on the conspiracy to re-elect barack obama. from everything we've been told by the right wingers, here is who was involved. the bureau of labor statistics which has never been influenced
by any white house. somehow, somehow they manipulated the numbers. but they only manipulated the numbers for the month of september instead of manipulating them for three years. okay. then of course there is every polling organization in existence. now remember all of the polls are skewed toward president obama. then there is the national media which of course includes fox news because fox polls show president obama is in the lead. and finally unemployed people. for some reason these folks, they just want to lie to the bureau of labor statistics in order to help a president who is presiding over their unemployment benefits as you see this is, my friends, all crazy talk. one person who didn't play along with the conspiracies was this guy, mitt romney. he knows better. but he did put out a statement downplaying the new numbers. he said, this is not what a real recovery looks like. so romney says the number is bad but the conspiracy kooks say the
number was fixed to make president obama look good. the fact remains, conservatives have been shoving these unemployment rate numbers to the president's face for the last three and a half years. now it's come back to bite them. they hate it. they can't stand it. it's success under obama. and if it works for them, well, it's the truth. if it works against them you know what it is? a conspiracy, a lie. you know what it is? it is pathetic. you want a real conspiracy? i'm going to give you a real conspiracy here tonight. an entire political party in washington, d.c. you know this. has spent nearly four years making sure no legislative action was taken on jobs. when president obama approached them with solutions to get people back to work, they rejected them immediately, said no. they even said in public, their number one goal was to make barack obama a one-term president.
when they executed this strategy, what did they do? they damaged the country. do you call that economic patriotism? i don't. this is what a job growth has looked like over the past three years. now take a look at what happens when we see these split between the private sector jobs and the public sector jobs. it's pretty obvious. the losses in the public sector, what were they? a drag on job growth. we lost nearly 700,000 public sector jobs since 2009. most of them, sadly, are teachers. now if you look at the major sectors of our economy right now, hell, there's growth all over the place in all areas except one. construction jobs. now think about this. if the american jobs act was considered by republicans they would have added nearly 2 million construction jobs. where would the unemployment report be now? the september jobs report, my friends, it is not a conspiracy.
it's just a lot of indigestion by the republicans. and i think it's insulting to hard working americans to say that it is a conspiracy. republicans have engaged in something much worse over the last four years. they tried to hurt the country for their own political gain. they did damage to the economic system of this country. they hurt families. they held us back. and they ultimately failed. so can we officially call this tonight a democratic recovery? can we get the history books to record this as the most obstructive time in american political history and if it wasn't for the democrats we wouldn't have had 31 months of private sector job growth? we wouldn't have added over 5 million jobs? come on. be fair minded about this. this isn't any conspiracy. this is america. get your cell phones out. i want to know what you think. tonight's question, are republicans even capable of embracing good news for
americans? text a for yes b for no to 622639. you can always go to our blog at ed.msnbc.com. we'll bring you the results later on in the show. i am joined tonight by robert wolf, former president of ubs investment bank and host of impact players on reuters tv. and an outside adviser to president obama. also with us tonight is democratic strategist bob shrum two of the best here to talk about the economy and political ramifications of all of this. mr. wolf good to have you with us tonight. >> thanks for having me, ed. >> you were right there on the ground floor when president obama was dealing with this economic crisis. take us where we were and where we are and encapsulate it for our audience. >> we know where we were. the stock market was a hundred percent lower right at 6,000. we're at a five-year high. and we were losing 750,000 jobs when he entered office.
i'd rather talk about where we are today because i think today's numbers are a culmination of policies that have led to a recovery that we need to continue but we are starting to see the culmination of these policies actually lead to very good things. let's talk about it. people aren't discussing the average hour work week. it came in at 34 1/2, which is a prerecession number. mortgage foreclosures are at a four-year low. housing starts at a four-year high. we have 31 straight months of private sector job gains. of over 5 million jobs. manufacturing, okay, manufacturing has had over 500,000 jobs created. we're in the right trajectory. our export initiative is working where it's at double digits as a percentage of gdp. so i think that we're in the right trajectory. we obviously are not where we want to be. but this is showing that the recovery is starting to work. and we just need to keep the force going and i think to your
point, ed, which you mention all the time, we need to start investing in infrastructure. that would speed up this recovery dramatically. >> well yeah. mr. wolf, i got to ask you, what is your reaction when you hear all of these righties and anti-obama people say it's a conspiracy and they're cooking the books? >> i mean, listen. the bureau of labor statistics has been something we've been looking at for decades. this is embarrassing that we even are having this conversation. this is really silly talk. and i think that, you know, it's an embarrassment that we're not actually talking about isn't it great that we're at a 2009 low. we should be talking about how great it is not how -- not the negative aspect. this is a good thing. it's a good thing unemployment is low. is getting lower. >> it is a great thing. it is a great thing. and it's the republicans who have been running around especially, bob shrum, their lead candidate for president, who says president obama doesn't understand the economy.
how big of a blow is this to the republican effort to thwart the economy? >> i think it's really tough. i think for them. and that's why you saw this situation today what the historian called the paranoid style in american politics where everything is a conspiracy and nothing is on the level. it's amazing to me that someone like jack welch would lend his name to this kind of conspiracy mongering. he looked like a fool today. now he is a republican, a partisan republican. he hated al gore because the clinton/gore administration made ge clean up the pcbs they had spewed into the hudson river. but it's unbelievable that he doesn't have the good sense to avoid this that when he says to chris matthews he has no evidence at all he simply won't back down. so i thought about this today. you know, first we had the truthers. then we had the birthers. now we need a name for these conspiracy freaks who think that the bls is jiggering the numbers
and i think we ought to call them the welchers. >> is romney going to get hurt by these wild conspiracies, bob? >> yeah. i think he is. because what this conspiracy theory has done is given more currency to the actual news. the people who listen to rush limbaugh, the people on fox news, none of them are going to vote for the president anyway. they never were going to vote for him. but there's going to be more currency to the story. it's going to be a more interesting story. it's going to sink in better and i think it fits the narrative that barack obama and bill clinton at the convention have been trying to persuade the country to accept, which is inherited a really bad situation. we've made real progress. we have a way to go. well, today it looks like we made real progress. >> well, barack obama did not inherit bill clinton's economy. he inherited george bush's economy. >> that's for sure. >> i think we have forgotten that along the way. robert wolf and bob shrum great to have you both with us tonight. thanks so much. remember, answer tonight's question there at the bottom of
the screen. share your thoughts on twitter at ed show and on facebook. we want to know what you think. coming up a big win for the economy means mitt romney is losing his favorite talking point. democratic strategist chris covinas will tell us what 7.3% unemployment means for the romney campaign. stay with us. we're coming right back. maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ...nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. governor of getting it done. you know how to dance... with a deadline.
coming up the new unemployment number means the death of a gop talking point. democratic strategist chris kofinis joins me next. a new report says the same company where mine workers attended a romney rally without pay also made workers donate to his campaign. alec mcgillis of the new republic has the details. in mitt's plan to cut funding to pbs, would be a drop in the bucket in terms of the deficit but would have a major impact on educational television in america. former reading rainbow host lavar burton will join me tonight. looking forward to that. share your thoughts with us on
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esurance. now backed by allstate. click or call. welcome back to "the ed show." thanks for watching tonight. good news for the country means republicans are losing one of their favorite talking points. the economy added 114,000 jobs last month bringing unemployment down to 7.8%. gosh i just can't say it enough. you know what i mean? for years republicans have been attacking president obama for not knowing what the heck is going on. and getting unemployment rate down below 8%. they thought he'd never do it. now with today's news their
attack is officially dead. so in memoriam tonight, we're sending their favorite talking point off in style. ♪ i will remember you >> the white house promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8%. >> he promised that our unemployment rate would not exceed 8%. >> the obama administration promised that unemployment would not exceed 8%. >> it's important. >> the administration said they'd keep unemployment below 8%. you're part of this. what went wrong? >> below 8%. >> below 8%. >> the administration pledged that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%. >> that he would hold unemployment below 8%, and it has not been below 8% since.
>> the president's been in office he promised to keep unemployment below 8% and it hasn't been below 8% since. >> if they got their way on their stimulus they'd hold unemployment below 8%. they set the measure and they have not been below 8% since. >> how'd that work without? >> i'll tell you exactly how it worked out. damn good. and it's going to get better. let's bring in democratic strategist chris kofinis tonight. chris, good to have you with us. you know what? >> how can i beat that, by the way, ed. >> yes, you can. you know this. you know what? they've been rooting for failure. let's just say it. they have fought this president every step of the way. the record number of filibusters proves it. if you go out on the street and run into some small business guy and he says you know what? i've had 31 months of job growth in my business, he'd probably tell you i'm on a roll. i'm on a roll. why can't the republicans bring
themselves to success that we are definitely heading in the right direction? >> well, you know, you live by the talking point you die by the talking point. and that talking point is now dead. the republicans have a real conundrum on themselves, facing themselves. how do they go out now and talk down the economy even further? it's really difficult to do given this significant accomplishment. and i think what is even more significant about this, you know, after the debate performance in which we all agree was not good on behalf of the president, the republicans and the governor, governor romney's campaign thought they had momentum. this now i would say has popped that balloon in a significant way and allows the president now to go out there as he did today in a very forceful way and make the argument that the country is moving in the right direction. you do not want to take us back in the wrong direction. >> you know, in a lame duck session of the congress we had this big discussion about the bush tax cuts. the republicans are so far off
their game right now their reaction today should have been well we told president obama to extend the bush tax cuts. you can't raise taxes on the job creators. they don't even know their own talking points. what do they do now? they come out and accuse the president and the bureau of labor statistics of cooking the books. what is the new 7.8 unemployment mean for obama's campaign strategy moving forward to get him re-elected? what does this mean for him? >> well, it gives him an opportunity to really paint the picture that we didn't do, he didn't do effectively in the debate. to me, now the stakes for the next debate become really critical. the president is a town hall format. the president needs to go in there and not allow governor romney to set the debate or control the debate or use facts that aren't real. he needs to sit there and look governor romney in the eye and say listen. you sit there and tell the american people they're not better off. tell the 5 million people that have jobs today that they're not better off.
tell the 37 million people who have health care and are going to have health care that they're not better off. tell the soldiers that are coming back from iraq, back from afghanistan that they're not better off. the president needs to do a full throated defense of his presidency and not allow governor romney to define his presidency for him. this helps significantly. >> and, chris, quickly do we hear mitt romney continue to say that president obama doesn't understand the economy? does this put him in a box? >> well, to some extent but governor romney is going to use his statistics to paint his picture and we saw that. and i think this is one of the things that i would, you know, strongly recommend to the obama campaign. romney was a blizzard of statistics in that debate but a lot of them weren't true. the president has the ability to use statistics to attack and undercut governor romney's arguments. he needs to go into the next debate. a lot of people are going to be watching given the last debate and he needs to go right at governor romney and completely destroy this notion that
reinventing himself, let alone introducing and proposing the same policies are going to create a different outcome. he can definitely do that. we've seen that. >> right wing conservative talking points dying on this friday in october. chris kofinis, good to have you with us tonight. thank you so much. coming up workers at an ohio coal mine. they were forced to attend a romney event without pay. you know what, folks? that's not all. find out what else employees of a major energy company were forced to do. and 17 days after his 47% remark romney says, ah, he was wrong. and there's something very curious about all of this and we'll explain. stay tuned. we're coming right back on "the ed show."
by the way, i like coal. i'm going to make sure we can continue to burn clean coal. people in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies. >> that was mitt romney attacking the industry and declaring his love for the coal industry this week. after reading a new report from the coal republic, it's pretty easy to understand why mitt romney has this deep affection for coal. we've told you about romney's appearance at the ohio coal mine in august where workers at the century mine in bealsville, ohio, were given the day off without pay and forced to attend
a romney event. the unpaid miners served as a convenient backdrop for romney. romney thanked the miners' boss murray energy ceo robert murray for his efforts. >> i'll tell you, you got a great boss. he runs a great operation here. bob, where are you, bob? there he is. >> now i just wonder why romney was just gushing all over and all about murray? in addition to forcing miners to stay behind romney without pay murray also pressured his salaried employees to give to republican candidates deemed worthy by the company. you know, candidates who are for deregulation and certainly anti-union. salaried employees are expected to contribute to the company pac through automatic payroll deductions. documents obtained by "the new republic" show company officials track, they actually follow who is giving and who is not.
if employees don't comply murray calls them out on it. all of this pressure turns into real big money for republican politicians. mitt romney himself gained $120,000 in support from murray employees alone. in 2007, since 2007 employees of murray energy and its subsidiaries along with their families and the murray pac, well, they have contributed over $1.4 million to republican candidates for federal office. murray's fundraisers have benefited the likes of scott brown, rand paul, david vitter, carly fiorina, and jim demint down at south carolina. murray's pac is also lending a big hand to who? josh mandel in ohio who is of course going after sherrod brown in the senate race in the buckeye state. let's turn to alec mcgillis, a writer for "the new republic." his report, "coal miners donor" details robert murray's efforts to pressure his employees into donating to republican causes.
great to have you with us tonight. appreciate your time. >> thanks for having me. >> you had several -- you had several, i understand several sources come forward and tell you about this pressure to contribute. what surprised you the most? what did you find out? >> i guess i was surprised at just how long this has been going on and we haven't really heard about it. this is an amazing, years long, widespread system that's been going on where workers when they first arrive at this company are told, look. you are -- we expect you to give to the pac, to our pac that's part of working here. you're going to sign a form that lets us take 1% of your pay to give to the pac. you're also going to be -- we also would like you to participate in mr. murray's fundraisers. he has these constant fundraisers. and the letters just keep coming to people's homes. the letters come from mr. murray. please come to this fundraiser. i suggest you give 200 or 500 or a thousand depending on your salary level. and you're expected to go to this banquet hall in st.
clarisville, a little town near wheeling. and one after another, the who's who of republicans from around the country come to this little banquet hall and collect these checks. >> this is shaking them down at the office. that's what this is. this is a clear, concerted effort to get money out of employees for republican candidates no doubt. you report that murray not only pressures employees but also contractors. how did that happen? >> what i was told by sources was that it's also, this is also the way it works with vendors and contractors. they are told that if they want to do business that if they're doing business with murray energy it would be nice if they could also support candidates mr. murray supports. in some cases of course this is not the hardest sell to make because a lot of these other contractors in this part of the country, in this business, also
are very anti-barack obama, anti-democrat. so some of them aren't willing to give. the same goes for some of the employees i spoke with. i went out for that rally in ohio, the romney rally, and some of the employees i spoke with said, yeah. i give. he likes us to give and i give willingly. but it was other people i spoke with who had a real problem with it who felt very uncomfortable about it, felt it was not right. and felt they were made to feel very bad when they would not give. they would say look. i have a tuition payment this month. i have a car payment. i can't do it this month. and they'd be made to feel bad about it. the documents i got back this up. in these documents, these letters i have from mr. murray, himself, to, down to the rest of the company saying, hey. there's no -- you're not giving this month. step it up. you're insulting me by not giving. what's going on? sometimes he'll attach a list of employees who are not giving, or a spreadsheet showing who is giving and who is not.
>> i tell you what, it's really beating up employees in the workplace and is really wrong but this is how the republicans play the game. great reporting. alec mcgillis, great to have you with us on "the ed show." thank you. there is a lot more coming up. stay with us. >> just completely wrong. and i absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that i care about a hundred percent. >> mitt romney is completely changing his tune after he basically called half the country lazy moochers. karen finney joins me next. i couldn't believe the man actually fixed his mouth to say that. >> why? >> i interpreted it as an attack on children. >> and former reading rainbow host lavar burton is sticking up for pbs by going after mitt romney. mr. burton joins me tonight. lavar. ♪ leaving my homeland ♪ playing a lone hand ♪ my life begins today ♪ ♪ fly by night away from here ♪
17 days after his infamous 47% remarks he now says he was wrong. sean hannity asked romney. what would he have said if president obama had raised the 47% remarks in the debate the other night? here is romney's answer. >> clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question and answer sessions now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right. in this case i said something that is just completely wrong. and i absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that i care about 100%. >> president obama didn't bring up the 47% remarks in the debate and caught a lot of flack for it. i question it here on this network to one of his advisers. but he probably wanted to avoid giving romney the chance to address it in front of 67 million people, that kind of platform. the romney camp wasn't satisfied. they were probably expecting it to give their candidate an
opportunity. okay. so they're not happy with the good debate performance and wanted a bite at the 47% apple to straighten things out. they sent romney over to fox news so romney can finally say he was wrong on a different platform of course. romney sure took his sweet time. he didn't say he was wrong two and a half weeks ago. >> well, you know, it's not elegantly stated. let plea put it that way. i am speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and i'm sure i could state it more clearly and in a more effective way. but it's a message which i'm going to carry and continue to carry, which is look. the president's approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes isn't as attractive to them. therefore i'm not likely to draw them into my campaign. >> joining me now is karen finney former communications director for the dnc and msnbc analyst. karen, great to have you with us. >> good to see you, ed.
>> was it a brilliant strategy on the part of the obama team for the president not to use the 47% remark to give an opening to mitt romney because a huge platform of 60 some plus million people. what about that? >> you know, that may very well be. i mean, the thing that, although that is so insulting is, think about it. just the clip you just played, the night that came out, the next day where did he go? fox news. with neil cavuto. again, he really stood by those comments. he said, well, i could have said them a little better but i really stand by the message. for the last two weeks he has been saying i stand by this message that those people, you know, that language, even in his ads he talks about those people, that they wouldn't be attracted to his message of lower taxes? i mean, who is he to make such an assumption? and more importantly, he said, it's not my job to worry about them. so there is still a part of me that would have loved to see the confrontation on that because think about this, ed. you just played that clip.
you did that interview talking about the coal miners. if you really care about the 47%, did you realize, did you know that that, those people didn't get paid that day to sit there and be props for you? do you care about them? >> yeah. >> probably never occurred to him. >> you know, this is a huge admission by the romney camp. they got some serious problems with the middle class. >> yes. >> and they've got to address it somehow. so you could just see him behind closed doors saying, you know, boss you got to go out and eat some crow on this one and tell them you're really not down on everybody. you know, that the 47 percenters are a problem. because this is the largest economic voting block in america. >> sure. >> the number of polls show he has so much trouble with the middle class. is this going to work at all? is it going to have any effect on his campaign? >> you know, i don't think it will and here's why. i think again one of the things team obama has done very wisely for a long time, i mean, they really worked hard on this
narrative and remember all those bain ads people thought were ill conceived to run in the middle, with the middle class hitting the middle of the country, think about this, ed. the same people who are in those ads talking about how when bain came to town they lost their jobs, they lost everything while, you know, mitt romney and his guys walked away with plenty of cash, those are the same 47% he was talking about. so the combination of those messages i think has really done damage and that is what the romney team is really afraid of. i don't know that they have enough time though to fully turn that around. let's see what he does at the town hall when he has to really talk to somebody. >> here's the irony of it. he's over there on fox trying to make amends with the middle class. conservatives behind closed doors were eating it up at that fundraiser. >> that's right. >> here's what rush limbaugh said. let's play it. the drugster. here it is. >> this is such a golden opportunity. this could have been -- could be
the opportunity for romney and for that campaign to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservativism. >> romney is now ready to give up the golden opportunity to talk about conservativism? what is that all about? >> you know what it makes me think, ed, it makes me feel like there was some kind of conversation that said, look. this isn't working. if we want to win this thing, we've all got to agree. we've got to put a different mitt out there for these last three weeks. he's got to be a little bit contrite on these stupid comments. he's got to talk like he really cares and recognizes that not everybody, you know, grew up like he did. and sort of say, and you guys have to let him have a pass on that because we got to win this thing. i'm telling you, ed, i would not be surprised if we don't learn after the election there was some kind of deal made that says we got to soften our rhetoric but don't worry. rich people you're still going to get your tax breaks and you know we're still going to screw the middle class. >> karen finney, great to have you with us on the ed show. thanks so much.
coming up actor and former reading rainbow host levar burton joins me to discuss mitt romney's promise to cut pbs funding and what it means for public television. stay with us. [ male announcer ] if you had a dollar for every dollar car insurance companies say they'll save you by switching, you'd have like, a ton of dollars. but how are they saving you those dollars? a lot of companies might answer "um" or, "no comment." then there's esurance. born online, raised by technology,
that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8%. >> he promised that our unemployment rate would not exceed 8%. >> the obama administration promised that unemployment would not exceed 8%. >> it's important. >> this administration said they'd keep unemployment below 8%. you're part of this. what went wrong? >> below 8%. >> below 8%. >> the administration pledged that their stimulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%. that he'd hold unemployment below 8%, and it has not been below 8% since. >> the president's been a disappointment. he told you he'd keep unemployment below 8% and it hasn't been below 8% since. >> if they got their way on the stimulus they'd hold unemployment below 8%. they set the measure and they have not been below 8% since. >> how did that work out? >> yeah, sean, what went wrong? tonight in our survey i asked
are republicans capable of embracing good news for americans? 4% of you said yes. 96% of you said no. coming up, levar burton, former host of pbs's "reading rainbow" joins me to break down mitt romney's big yellow problem. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness? by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how about...by the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy,
and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant specializing in fish and game from the great northwest. he'll start investing early, he'll find some good people to help guide him, and he'll set money aside from his first day of work to his last, which isn't rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. welcome back to the ed show. president obama has a new and surprisingly popular political
ally. and his name is big bird. on the campaign trail today the president continued to hammer mitt romney for his pledge to cut federal funding to pbs as a means to cut spending and reduce the debt. >> governor plans to let wall street run wild again but he's going to bring the hammer down on "sesame street." it makes perfect sense. >> the president understands main street is a fan of "sesame street." in fact, a 2008 survey found that 77 million americans watched the show as children. kind of an american institution. and children who frequently view "sesame street" as preschoolers have high school grade point averages. almost 16% higher than those who don't. which is just one of the ways pbs earns its title of america's biggest classroom.
mitt romney joins a long list of republicans who have turned public programming like pbs into political pinatas. in 1969 president richard nixon wanted to cut proposed funding for cpb in half. the late mr. rogers, everyone's neighbor, appeared before the senate subcommittee on communications and gave what proves to be a timeless defense of programs like those offered by pbs. >> we made a hundred programs for een, the eastern educational network, and then when the money ran out people in boston and pittsburgh and chicago all came to the fore and said we've got to have more of this neighborhood expression of care. and this is what i give. i give an expression of care every day to each child. unfortunately levar burton had a travel delay and could not join us tonight.
we'll have him on the program next week if he is available. this story isn't going to go away. politics takes funny turns now and then. for the life of me i will never understand why mitt romney thinks this is a huge problem in the federal budget deficit. it's amazing. karen finney stays with us tonight. what is the strategy here, karen? why would mitt romney -- this is such a sliver of the federal budget. why would he use something so small yet something that has such a huge impact on american society? why would he use that and attack that in of all places on the format in front of a debate crowd of some 67 million people? what do you think? >> you know, i think that was the dog whistle to conservatives that, or the little wink-wink that i'm still with you. i'm going to cut pbs. i'm taking down big bird. i'm the tough guy. seriously.
if you think about how on that stage we saw this performance of mitt romney, you know, trying to be this different kind of guy, and he cares about people, but what's the one classic conservative punch line that he could not let go of? going after big bird and pbs. i have to tell you i've worked in education for several years and as you know "sesame street" and a lot of the programming on pbs is the gold standard not just here in america but around the world for educational programming and for young people, for children. so i mean if you want to talk about somebody who doesn't understand america, suggesting that cutting that is not, should not be a priority to keep it, i don't understand that. i really don't. >> how do you think president obama has played it? i mean, it's a serious issue. >> yeah. >> god forbid if pbs were to get cut like that because of the educational programs they give our young people in this country. but he has used it in a different way, not serious, but almost in a joking fashion, you know, somebody is after big bird now. does that play well?
>> i think it does because it's a very quick, memorable way for people to remember that what we're talking about here, the math doesn't add up. it goes to a much larger serious point. obviously pbs is very important but here you have mitt romney saying, i mean it is a $5 trillion hole. i don't care what they -- how they try to spin it. that's the truth. and the truth is as we know it the math doesn't add up between the loop holes they say they'll do away with and the tax cuts and they're going to do it on the back of big bird? i mean it's a great way to remind people that you just cannot trust these guys. >> well, levar burton who we will get on the program, spent 25 years encouraging kids to read. isn't it interesting that the republican party think it's really not that important to get people to read and be well informed. i think there is a real message there big time and i think the american people should be, they are, and they should be upset